Southland elected officials condemn attack on Ukraine

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — The county Board of Supervisors adopted a motion March 1 formally condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and urging federal elected leaders to take steps ensuring support and protection of Ukrainian immigrants and refugees.

At the same time, five Los Angeles City Council members introduced a resolution strongly condemning “the egregious actions of President Vladimir Putin for ordering the invasion of Ukraine.”

The City Council resolution further includes a call for international or federal divestment of all holdings from and investments in Russia and condemns Putin’s actions or that of any country that supports Russia, publicly traded Russian companies, real estate and private equity.

“What’s happening in Ukraine right now is unacceptable and inhumane,” said City Council President Nury Martinez, who co-introduced the resolution. “There are over half a million refugees who had to walk miles in the freezing cold, families have been separated and may never be reunited, and childhoods will forever be impacted by this senseless war.”

“As a city, we are making it clear that we do not support this show of Russian aggression. Los Angeles stands with the Ukrainian people and supports the brave patriots who are currently standing their ground and defending their country,” she added.

Martinez introduced the resolution with Councilmen Paul Koretz and Kevin de León and Councilwomen Monica Rodriguez and Nithya Raman.

“The city of Los Angeles stands firmly with Ukraine and its people and strongly condemns President Putin’s reckless actions against Ukraine,” the resolution states.

Councilman Joe Buscaino, who seconded the resolution, also introduced a motion aimed at declaring Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv a Los Angeles sister city as a gesture of solidarity. If Kyiv is declared a sister city, Los Angeles would be able to send retired city goods, including fire trucks and ambulances.

“The world continues to be horrified by the images and videos coming from Kyiv, Ukraine; however, people across the globe have also been inspired by the resilience and fortitude of the people of Ukraine including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy — everyday citizens who have taken a stand for their country, democracy and freedom,” Buscaino said.

It was unclear when the resolution will come up for a vote.

The motion before the Board of Supervisors was introduced by Supervisor Janice Hahn.

“We must condemn this unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression by the Russian military against Ukraine, assist any Ukrainian-Americans in Los Angeles County who have been impacted by this crisis, and offer our support to refugees fleeing the violence,” Hahn said prior to the vote.

The motion specifically calls for a letter signed by all five county supervisors to be sent to Anatoly Antonov, Russian ambassador to the United States, urging the Russian government to immediately begin peace talks to resolve the conflict.

It also calls for another five-signature letter to be send to President Joe Biden and members of the county’s congressional delegation asking that temporary protected status be provided for Ukrainian nationals in the United States and providing support for relatives of Ukrainian-Americans to relocate to the U.S. The letter will also request additional funding for nonprofit groups working with the U.S. State Department to resettle refugees.

The board’s action also directed the county Department of Consumer and Business Affairs’ Office of Immigrant Affairs to assist county residents searching for information or help for relatives and friends impacted by the conflict.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger, with support from Hahn, amended the motion to request that the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association divest any Russian holdings, and asking the county CEO to report back in two weeks on the possibility of canceling county contracts with companies that do business in Russia.

The action by elected officials followed a weekend of peace demonstration in support of the Ukraine in Santa Monica, Hollywood and Studio City.

“Today We Are All Ukrainians,” read a sign held by a demonstrator during a protest Feb. 26 at Santa Monica and Sepulveda boulevards, where Sen. Dianne Feinstein has an office. Other signs read: “Stop Russian Imperialism,” “Russia Go Home” and “Hands Off! Russia Take a Seat! End This Tyranny!”

Demonstrators could be seen on all four corners of the intersection.

Similar protests were held along Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood and at Laurel Canyon and Ventura boulevards in Studio City.

Overnight, Los Angeles City Hall was illuminated in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukraine flag, a show of solidarity that has been repeated at numerous landmarks worldwide.

Archbishop José Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles condemned the invasion in a letter shared with the Catholic Ukrainian faithful.

“My heart is with all of you in this time of sorrow and uncertainty. With our Holy Father Pope Francis, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, and Metropolitan Gudziak, I deplore the Russian invasion of your homeland of Ukraine. Please know that your Roman Catholic brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will always be near to you in solidarity and prayer,” Gomez wrote.

“We are praying for a swift end to the evil of this war. We ask Jesus Christ, the Lord of Peace, to touch the hearts of the aggressors, and move them to conversion. We also call on those in authority to seek a just peace that recognizes the dignity and sovereignty of the Ukrainian people.”

Gomez concluded his message by reiterating Pope Francis’ call to pray and fast for peace during the season of Lent that began March 2.

 

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